Democracy treats people like "donkeys" -- Gaddafi

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TRIPOLI, Oct 8 (Reuters) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said multiparty democracy is a sham promoted by governments that treat their people ''like donkeys'' and deny them real power, the official Libyan news agency Jana reported today.

Gaddafi added in a speech last week that his north African country would never abandon its ''state of the masses'' system of rule by town hall meetings, which he has long predicted will be eventually embraced by governments around the world, Jana said.

''They talk about the alternation of power (from one party to another), Jana quoted Gaddafi, Libya's ruler for 37 years, as saying. ''What does that mean? It means that people are being ridden like donkeys.'' ''The world is fed up with parties and elections. Even the Western intelligentsia feels disgusted with the party system and the farce of elections. They acknowledge the fact that what is going on is not democracy but falsification.'' ''The world is going to eventually embrace the peoples' authority, sweeping away all those old systems.'' Gaddafi seized power in a coup in 1969 and in 1977 he proclaimed Jamahiriyah popular rule to try to create the perfect society in line with the teachings of his Green Book, which combines aspects of socialism, Islam and pan-Arabism.

Local community meetings known as Basic People's Congresses, surveyed by revolutionary committees composed of Green Book enthusiasts, send up their decisions to a national tier of officials via a pyramid of committees and congresses.

Gaddafi has said his country of 6 million people will persist with its no-party system because, he says, it gives more say to the people than Western elections.

Critics say the Jamahiriyah system, the only government most Libyans have known, is a fig leaf for authoritarian rule and has kept the country poor.

''We have seen the world shaken by the multiparty systems,'' Gaddafi said. ''What on earth do we need with the alternation of power when power is in the hands of the masses?'' ''There will be no going back on the peoples authority.'' REUTERS PD HS1420

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